Washington’s NFL team is in search of a new name and logo.
After years of debate surrounding the controversial mascot ramped up in recent weeks, the team in Washington, D.C., sent out a press release Monday announcing that the Redskins name and logo have been retired.
“On July 3rd,we announced the commencement of a thorough review of the team’s name,” the release reads. “We want to keep our sponsors, fans and community apprised of our thinking as we go forward. Today, we are announcing we will be retiring the Redskins name and logo upon completion of this review. (Team owner) Dan Snyder and Coach (Ron) Rivera are working closely to develop a new name and design approach that will enhance the standing of our proud, tradition rich franchise and inspire our sponsors, fans and community for the next 100 years.”
The Washington franchise originated in 1932 as the Boston Braves. The name was changed to the Redskins in 1933, prior to moving to Washington, D.C. in 1937.
Pressure from sponsors helped spur the change, as Adweek reported earlier this month that dozens of investment firms and shareholders asked Nike, FedEx and PepsiCo to terminate their business relationships with the Redskins due to the controversial team name — a racist slur stemming from bounties paid to white settlers in exchange for the skins of Native American adults and children as proof of their murders. FedEx issued a July 2 statement, saying their signage would be removed from FedExField unless the name was changed.
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Snyder, who has said in the past that he would never change the team’s name, said in the team’s July 3 press release that “This process allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise but also input from our alumni, the organization, sponsors, the National Football League and the local community it is proud to represent on and off the field.”
According to ESPN, Oneida Nation representative Ray Halbritter, the head of the Change the Mascot campaign, released a Monday statement saying “This is a good decision for the country — not just Native peoples — since it closes a painful chapter of denigration and disrespect toward Native Americans and other people of color. Future generations of Native youth will no longer be subjected to this offensive and harmful slur every Sunday during football season.
“We have made clear from the start that this movement was never about political correctness, but seeking to prevent unnecessary harm to our youth, since we know from social scientists the many harmful effects this mascot has had on Native Americans’ self-image. Today marks the start of a new chapter for the NFL and the Washington franchise, beginning a new legacy that can be more inclusive for fans of all backgrounds.”
The Cleveland Indians have also issued a statement that they are “committed to engaging our community and appropriate stakeholders to determine the best path forward with regard to our team name.”
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